An anecdote so that you may come to understand how ridiculous my mother is…
A couple years ago, she threw her then boyfriend a dinner party for his birthday. She’d gathered a large table of his friends, and was playing the role of doting girlfriend at a tucked away hipster restaurant known for its impressive wine selection. I showed up fashionably late, first because I recognized that no one would miss me and foremost because the night before I’d tried (and failed) to drink my weight in Grey Goose, stumbled home around 3am and then stumbled to work at 8am still very intoxicated. By the time the dinner party rolled around that night around 7pm, I had sobered up considerably, but was still deeply entrenched in the vow that comes with being hung over; I will never drink that much again. That vow, much like every other time I had muttered it to the heavens, only lasted 24 hours. But those sacred, detoxing 24 hours fell during his birthday, where we were celebrating at a wine bar. I chose water.
As I slid into my seat at the table, lucid but weary like a stripper that pulled a double, my mom noticed my insistence to the waiter that I only wanted water. I would have preferred, I dunno, Gatorade and the magical ambrosia of baby cherubs to make even my skin stop hurting, but my choices were Biblical; wine or water. After the 3rd time or so that I turned down an offer of Sauvingon Blanc, my mom turned to me with a mix of befuddlement and concern on her face that I have come to realize is going to result in nothing good for me. She leaned her face towards mine, motioning me to come closer.
“Why aren’t you drinking?”
“I just don’t wanna drink.” She stared at me with her perfectly shaped eyebrows lifted. Because, well, my mom knows me. She knows there are few times in life I DON’T want to drink. Particularly because she shares the same trait. We are, in fact, the apple and the tree.
“YOU don’t wanna drink?”
“Why don’t you want to drink? What kind of medication are you on?”
Now, because I was still experiencing vodka- impaired response times, I stared at her blankly for a second, not entirely sure of what she was asking me, but knowing to be appropriately offended by it.
And then it hit me.
“I’m still hung over, mama. Not taking antibiotics. I have a headache, not an STD.”
And with that she turned her attention back to the dinner party.
My mom is ridiculous.
It is interesting being someone’s daughter, but especially a daughter to a mother. That particular relationship is stereotypically wrought with tension and my mom and I hit all the expected notes; the post-divorce(s) tug of war, the puberty boundary pushing, the college age pulling away. Ironically, as I have gotten older, are relationship sometimes seems to regress rather than progress, probably due completely to the fact that we live in the same city. She wants me to check in; I blank stare her as I think about all the nights I survived in D.C. out and about and generally doing hoodrat stuff with my friends and she was none the wiser. I figure if I can make it through my naïve post high school years in a fairly dangerous city without causing myself any kinda physical harm (emotional harm is another story) I should be able to manage to go to work and back without reenacting selected scenes from Final Destination on the highway.
The thing is, like many moms, mine is prone to worry. More so than many, but still less than some. But not only am I her daughter, a particularly precarious relationship to begin with, but I am her only child. This ups the ante considerably.
I say often that I must not have been the easiest child to raise. Especially not for a mom like mine, who desires more than anything to feel necessary and needed. I was (and still am) a willful child. I am stubborn, and fiercely independent. I am happiest when striking out on my own and figuring things out for myself. I hate instructions. My last ex frequently told me I had issues with authority. As you can imagine, a parent wanting to feel needed and a child hell bent on needing others as little as possible made for an interesting ride up to this point.
Today, my mom is still ridiculous. And I am still willful. She still assumes the worst in every situation, and I am still determined to break things down and fix them all on my own. These are fundamental traits of who we are; they don’t make us bad people or good people, they just make us people. The difference is that as I begrudgingly become more adult, we seem to slowly but surely be coming to a sort of stalemate, a peace about who the other is and what that means for our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, we still fight. The smallest thing between us can go from 0 to 100 in under 10 seconds flat. Because we are mother and daughter. Being a mother is hard. Being a daughter is hard. And if you have never seen a mother/daughter fight, then you are missing a better matchup than any UFC fight.
We still have tons of things to work through, years of issues and resentments and growing of our own separately. Our relationship will likely change and morph into something absolutely foreign as we both keep living. But the thing about being a daughter is, you’ll never not be one. No matter where you live, how you live, who you are or whether or not your parent is living, you will always be someone’s daughter.
I will always be my mother’s daughter.
At least until the next time she insinuates that I have an STD in public.